Losing on any level is tough. More often than not, the competitive spirit in coaches, individual players and teams causes them to seek out something, anything that they can blame their defeat on. This has become an accepted part of sports and, for the most part, doesn’t earn all that much criticism from fans.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Enter: North Korea.
After a somewhat expected 2-0 defeat at the hands of the heavily favored U.S., North Korea could have walked away with their heads held high knowing they went down to the very best. Being the youngest team in the tournament – average age of players was 20 – coupled with all of the trouble they gave the American side for the first half should have been enough for some sort of moral victory, right?
Not so much.
After the loss, North Korea manager Kwang Min Kim offered up an interesting excuse for why his team fell. It wasn’t because of the inexperience, level of competition or talent disparity – it was because of lightning.
"When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalized," said coach Kim.
"Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament.
"But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don't want to think about anything but football.
"The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will."
Now, none of us were there, so for us to dismiss North Korea’s story as complete and utter BS would be irresponsible. That being said, couldn’t they have gone with something a little more believable? Maybe a little excuse along the lines of, “Our dog ate our playbook?”
Anyway, it could be worse. At least the North Korean team doesn’t have to worry about uniforms that make them look like nurses who got lost on their way to the hospital. Check out the new white kit the American women wear: